Catching Up: The Flash Episode 401, "The Flash Reborn"

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Flash Episode 402, Flash Reborn

Six months ago, Barry Allen (GRANT GUSTIN) left the physical world in order to save it, allowing himself to be imprisoned by the mysterious Speed Force that fuels his powers as The Flash. Today, his friends continue to protect Central City as best they can, with Iris West (CANDICE PATTON) taking the lead of the team, tracking metahumans and sending out Cisco Ramon (CARLOS VALDES) and her brother Wally (KEIYNAN LONSDALE) as Vibe and Kid Flash, along with her father, Detective Joe West (JESSE L MARTIN) to do battle. The fourth season opener finds them with a better than Hall-of-Fame record, capturing two out of every three, and having just put the wraps on capturing (again) Peek-a-Boo (BRITNE OLDFORD). But that's not good enough for Iris, who is moving forward with her life with a cold determination that has accepted that Barry is gone forever.

Cisco, however, has been working on a way to save Barry since the day he left. And he thinks he has an answer, a way to replace Barry in the Speed Force with something else that will be acceptable while allowing Barry to return home. He just needs a few more things -- among them, Caitlin Snow (DANIELLE PANABAKER), who has given up her life in the sciences to sling drinks at a bar with rough customers. But she comes back to save Barry. Despite Iris's wishes to the contrary, they begin the process that will extract Barry from the Speed Force...and the system fails upon the attempt.

At least, it seems to.

Barry is indeed extracted from the Speed Force, miles away, before he's brought back to Central City. He's older looking, unshaven, and faster than he's ever been before. For the first time in the history of the series since the pilot, he actually is the Fastest Man Alive. But he's incoherent and disconnected. He's writing strange markings all over the walls, and speaking in phrases that have nothing to do with the conversation that is being attempted. The team is pretty sure he may have suffered dementia from his time in the Speed Force, which although was only six months to us may have been a relative millennia to him.

THEORY TIME: Barry's random statements should resonate with fans of the series and the character. My theory is that his sentences are the new season's "Whiteboard O' Clues" and that he's actually experiencing future events all at once, but scrambled. Think Doctor Manhattan near the climax of WATCHMEN when he's approaching the Antarctic fortress and he starts speaking "out of time." My bet is that you will hear these phrases again, in proper context, over the course of this season!

Having a non-fully-functioning Flash is problematic in more ways than one, not the least of whcih is the super-powered samurai that's been damaging Central City demanding to confront The Flash, and handily defeating both Kid Flash and Vibe. But just when nothing seems to be getting through to Barry, Iris takes a leap of faith in their connection -- and offers herself as a hostage to the samurai, believing that if she is in danger, then The Flash will come to her rescue.

And welcome back, Flash!

The samurai, however, turns out to be a decoy -- an android (nicknamed Samuroid by Cisco), sent through time to bring out The Flash by a futuristic duo with mysterious motives: The Thinker (NEIL SANDILANDS) and his partner The Mechanic (KIM ENGELBRECHT). What that bodes for The Flash, only time will tell.

There's a noticably different look to this season. The new Flash uniform is a brighter red, but Wally's Kid Flash uniform is also a brighter yellow. The speed special effects use these colors to pop off the screen, especially with the long-range camera shots. Flash fans look to be in for quite a ride this season.

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0